It’s cut week in the NFL, which means plenty of concern and anxiety for many players around the league. Tom Brady isn’t one of those guys, though he admits maybe he should have been as a rookie.
Everybody knows the story by now. Brady drops down every team’s draft board. The Patriots finally take him with pick No. 199. Drew Bledsoe gets hurt in Week 2 of the 2001 season. Brady takes over and, three Super Bowls later, still hasn’t looked back. But, as a rookie, Brady entered camp as one of four quarterbacks on the roster, and the sixth-round pick knew he wasn’t guaranteed anything. Yet, he revealed during an appearance on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Morning Show on Monday that he never worried about being cut.
“No, I didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t think that way,” Brady said. “Looking back on the situation now, I would say that maybe I should have been a little worried. No one ever keeps four quarterbacks, but coach [Bill] Belichick, he decided to stick with me.”
The Patriots kept four quarterbacks entering the 2000 season — an unusual practice for Belichick — with Bledsoe, Brady, Michael Bishop and veteran John Friesz all making the team. Brady started the season out as the team’s fourth-string quarterback, but, by season’s end, he had jumped Bishop and Friesz to become Bledsoe’s primary backup.
Unlike in year two, where Brady was forced into action given Bledsoe’s concussion, Brady didn’t see much of the field during his rookie season, completing one of three passes in the only game he played that season. He was grateful to have that redshirt year of sorts, otherwise he knows he might not be the same player he is today.
“I was lucky to really have a chance that whole first year to be in a situation where I wasn’t forced to play and lose a bunch of confidence,” Brady said. “I wasn’t prepared to play my first year. That’s all that would have happened, I would’ve gone out and get beat and lost a ton of confidence in what I was doing. I was able to sit there, watch, learn, grow, grow into my body a little bit, improve my throwing mechanics and then my second year I went in there really competing for the backup job and ended up winning it.”
Brady won the backup job, and the rest, as they say, is history.